Paedophile teacher jailed after luring girls to photo shoots

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 January, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 January, 2010, 12:00am

A secondary school teacher, previously diagnosed as a paedophile, who lured child model hopefuls to pose semi-nude for photo shoots, was sentenced to more than four years in prison yesterday.

Henry Chan, 32, earlier pleaded guilty to sixteen counts, comprising charges of indecent assault, creating child pornography and possessing child pornography materials.

District Court Judge Stanley Chan Kwong-chi ordered that during the 49-month jail term he must have psychological, psychiatric and behavioural treatment, and medication.

The maximum sentence for indecent assault is 10 years' imprisonment, while those for creating and possessing child pornography are eight and five years, respectively.

Henry Chan photographed the nine girls, aged 11 to 15, between May 9 and June 4 last year. He would meet them after posting model-recruitment adverts online, and bring them to either a hotel or the Tsuen Wan apartment he shared with his parents, the court heard previously.

After shooting them with school uniforms on, he would instruct them to remove their tops, in some cases touching their breasts.

Some of them received HK$300 to HK$500 for the sessions.

When police arrested him at his home, they found 1,615 pictures of the children, and 24 child pornography images on his computer.

The judge noted that although Henry Chan had touched the girls' breasts, he did not expose himself or do anything else morally offensive to them. He said he believed that the teacher felt truly remorseful.

Barrister Peter Wong Ting-kwong said that his client had started having abnormal sexual inclinations in primary school, and sought treatment while in secondary education. It was unclear when he started having paedophiliac tendencies, but he had been receiving psychiatric treatment and help from his church for years.

The teacher said in a letter to the judge that he had previously warned his family not to leave him for long periods of time, or he would lose self-control. The photo-shoot sessions occurred when they had gone on a trip, the court heard.

The judge, noting media discussion about the post-1980s generation, said: 'Longing to live the romanticised life of a model, for just several hundred dollars they were willing to risk getting assaulted, to bare themselves and pose for a stranger in an unfamiliar place.' He said it was lucky they did not suffer more mistreatment and that the case should act as a serious warning.

Most of the girls whom Henry Chan photographed did not require psychological treatment, the judge said, but their trust in the opposite sex had dropped.

Despite having been diagnosed a paedophile, he had no criminal record and continued teaching. He said in a letter to the judge yesterday that although he had had sexual fantasies about students, he had always been able to control himself.

Commentators on Henry Chan's case earlier said that it was hard for schools to identify even diagnosed paedophiles unless they had committed a sexual offence. Koo Kam-wing, a sex therapist at Caritas Family Services, said that Hong Kong needed more discussion on the matter.